History

St John's Church has a rich history in Rotorua that spans more than 120 years.

The first Presbyterian ministers came to Rotorua in 1892, 11 years after it was first declared a township. At that time services were held in public halls or hotels.

In 1896 Rotorua's first St John's Presbyterian church was built on Pukuatua St, on the site now used by the Ministry of Social Development.

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In January 1954 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attended a morning service at the church during their first visit to New Zealand.

Since then, during a phase of active church growth, five other Presbyterian churches were established in the Rotorua area.

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In November 1989, when the St John’s parish had outgrown the small building, they moved to a new church, built on the corner of Victoria and Ranolf St.

The Rotorua Presbyterian churches were not immune to the decline in church involvement nationally, and in 2010, the leadership of the Churches met to consider how they could work better together. This resulted in the establishment of the Rotorua District Presbyterian Church – a coalition of the five active churches at the time, which was inaugurated in December 2012.

In February of 2017 St John's Church burnt down, as a result of an electrical fault in the roof lighting. The congregation was initially given use of the Civic Theatre for worship, then moved to rented premises on Fenton St while planning for and building a replacement church complex on Victoria Street.

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Artists impression of the new St John's Church